Public policy refers to the guided approaches used by governments or government agencies to cover a specified class of issues that need the attention of the government (Stewart, Hedge & Lester, 2007).
Although public policy is meant to cater for a myriad of government initiatives, it sometimes become evident when a nation is faced with an emergency and it needs an elaborate plan to cater for such emergencies.
When the US government was faced by the disastrous hurricane Katrina, it responded with elaborate policies to ensure that the disaster and its effects were contained.
Hurricane Katrina is one of the most memorable natural disasters in the history of the United States due to its magnitude of destruction (Stewart, Hedge & Lester, 2007). It led to loss of properties, loss of lives and deformation of the natural land, which is of great importance to human beings as well as for the economy of the United Sates of America at large.
Its effects were extremely exhibited in such places like Mississippi, Louisiana City of New Orleans, and Alabama. Two days before the disaster, the president had declared a state of emergency in several regions such as Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama (Stewart, Hedge & Lester, 2007)
The government responded to the hurricane by use of several agencies. Among the agencies that were used by the government was Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Stewart, Hedge and Lester (2007) also note that other stakeholders that took part in this response were private individuals, NGOs and local-level agencies.
This illustrated the concern and empathy that people showed towards the affected ones. People living in Louisiana and coastal Mississippi as well as in Alabama were quickly issued with evacuation orders either voluntarily or by use of force. Among those issued with evacuation orders were about one million, two hundred thousand residents in the Gulf Coast (Stewart, Hedge & Lester, 2007).
US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was sued due to the failures of the hurricane protection measures especially due to the role of the identified agency in designing the levee system (Stewart, Hedge & Lester, 2007). Army Corps engineers were found solely responsible, but their sovereign immunity protected them from being held accountable. The response that was received during the crisis from the federal state as well as local government was also investigated. This forced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director to resign (Stewart, Hedge & Lester, 2007).
The resignation of the director contributed to the slowness in the operation offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and of New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). However, there were areas where the response was highly commended such as the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the National Hurricane Center (Stewart, Hedge & Lester, 2007). The government on its side failed in timely delivery of goods as well as early rescue of victims of the hurricane Katrina.
Generally, the government of the United States of America should be solely committed to natural disasters that may occur in the country through timely response to the situation and provision of the necessities to the affected individuals. The public on the other hand should also play a role in giving support to the affected persons through their generous contributions.
Non Governmental Organizations should offer their support to victims of such disasters fully. These include assisting homeless individuals through tent construction and also creating awareness on the effects of natural disasters. This would ensure full protection of the public as well as solidarity and unity in the country.
Stewart, J., Hedge, D. M. & Lester, J.P. (2007). Public Policy: An Evolutionary Approach.New York: Cengage.